James Garner, celebrated actor and auto enthusiast, dies at age 86 [w/videos]

James Garner: 1928-2014

James Garner, star of such Hollywood television and film classics as Maverick and The Rockford Files, has passed away at his home at the age of 86. Garner is believed to have died of natural causes.

While Garner is best known for his television and movie roles, he was also a certified car guy. After starring in Grand Prix in 1966, James Garner developed a taste for racing, later being part owner of the American International Racers team, which took part in Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring endurance racing events. Garner's outfit also took part in the Baja 500, finishing 7 out of 10 AMC SC/Ramblers and taking three out of the top five positions. Garner himself drove an Oldsmobile 442 in off-road competition in 1969 and 1970. Garner's love of racing extended to the Indy 500, where he drove the pace car in 1975, 1977 and 1985.

With such a certified pedigree for competition racing, it comes as little surprise that Garner's automotive obsessions carried over into this acting career, gaining particular notoriety in The Rockford Files, where the gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit Garner's character drove became something of a star in its own right. Anyone who has watched the series is surely familiar with the J-turn that Garner's character, Jim Rockford, employed for quick getaways. So engrained was this stunt, which Garner performed himself, in the show that it is commonly referred to as the Rockford Turn.

We've gathered together some auto-themed clips for which Garner is known. Scroll down to take a short trip down memory lane as we celebrate the life and career of James Garner.

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